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Pretty Brutal Article on Pearl
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06-08-2005, 09:24 PM
VolNation's Grand Poobah
[b]UT's Pearl sending mixed messages |
Commentary by Willy Daunic
June 08, 2005
When Bruce Pearl took over the menís basketball program at Tennessee in March, he hoped to make an immediate impact by securing two blue chip recruits from the Midstate. Tyler Smith of Giles County had to be re-recruited after signing a letter of intent with the Vols under Buzz Peterson. Pearlís goal was to couple that with the signing of Jamont Gordon, a former Glencliff star who finished the season at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.
Two months later, Pearl has made big waves in recruiting, but not the ones that anyone expected. Neither Smith nor Gordon will play in Knoxville this fall, and the ensuing scramble for players has prompted the Vols coach to resort to tactics that are legal, but in many minds unethical.
The series of moves, which have left Smith sitting out, Matthew Dotson of Hickman County released, and Ryan Childress coming over from Wisconsin-Milwaukee, have many UT fans perplexed.
It started with the failed attempt to build a relationship with Smith, who led Giles County to a state championship as a sophomore. Pearl eventually kept Smith on scholarship despite Smithís desire to be released, and as a result Smith will sit out two years while Pearl eats an unused scholarship.
The message sent: You sign with a school and not a coach.
The Vol coach then turned around and signed Childress after he was released from his scholarship at Pearlís previous school, Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Pearl had recruited Childress in the same manor that Peterson had Smith.
The message sent: You sign with a coach and not a school.
With that backdrop, Pearl hatched a heartless plan to rid himself of Dotson, whom he felt could not play at the SEC level. After stating that he would honor all the scholarships awarded by Peterson, Pearl sent several obvious signals that he had no desire to see Dotson in Orange. He had virtually no contact with Dotson until late May, when Dotson visited campus to make preparations to enter summer school. He registered for classes, played pickup with the players and met the coaches.
Less than a week later, the Hickman County star was told via cell phone by Pearl not to attend summer school, one day before class was to start. All of the other incoming Vol freshmen are enrolled in the current session.
Pearl proceeded to tell Dotson that he would never play in front of Childress, who has played exactly the same amount of college games as Dotson ó zero. Dotson could no longer ignore the signs, and was left with no choice but to ask for his release.
His release coincided with the news that Dameon Mason, a transfer from Marquette who averaged 11.9 points per game last year, made an unofficial visit to Knoxville last weekend. So to clear a scholarship for the possibility of Mason, Pearl orchestrated the release of a player who desperately wanted to be a Vol instead of releasing Smith, who has no desire to play for him.
The message sent: We will do what we must do to win, no matter what.
All of Pearlís actions are legal. He can look everyone in the eye and say he honored the scholarship offer. But there was no honor in what he did to Dotson
In the small community of Centerville, Dotson is the pride of the town. It was a huge story there that a kid from the local high school, ranked third in his class, would be playing for the Vols next year. One day before he was to embark on his college journey, the town hero had to tell everyone that the coach didnít want him. Dotson is left to scramble to find a place to play, and he will. Hopefully the experience will make him stronger.
As for Pearl, maybe he is right that Dotson simply was not good enough to play at UT. We will never know, but there are tons of examples of lower level recruits who blossom into excellent college players.
The big picture is the first impression Pearl has left on the coaching fraternity, both high school and college, and the UT fans. After what has transpired, can anyone blame Tyler Smith now for saying he felt uncomfortable with the new coaching staff back in early April?
I agree in that I don't think what he did to Dotson was right. If he wanted to release this kid, he should have done it the minute he got here... not now.
06-08-2005, 10:09 PM
| Originally posted by checkerboard_charly@Jun 8, 2005 10:06 PM |
[b]i think that pearl is a snake in the grass.
this can be very good or it can almost completely destroy what respect our b-ball team has left.
Man do I wish I knew what is going on........